Uncle of Pitchfork victim says Parole Board put kids 'at risk' by releasing killer

23 November 2021, 11:13 | Updated: 23 November 2021, 13:17

By Megan Hinton

The uncle of Collin Pitchfork's second victim has criticised the Parole Board for putting children and families "at risk" by releasing the double child killer.

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Pitchfork was recalled to prison just two months after a Parole board decided he was "suitable for release" despite professionals knowing he had a capacity to "manipulate and deceive".

He was jailed for life after killing and raping two 15-year old girls, Lynda Mann and Dawn Ashworth, in Leicestershire in 1983 and 1986.

He was recalled to prison this month after allegedly approaching young women several times while he took walks from the bail hostel.

Philip Musson, the uncle of Pitchfork’s second victim, Dawn Ashworth, told LBC that Pitchfork should have been handed a whole life sentence but believes the parole board only take the "rights of the offender" into account when making a decision to release a prisoner.

Speaking to Nick Ferrari at Breakfast, Mr Musson said: "Dawn was a lovely young girl she was full of potential she had her whole life ahead of her, which was tragically taken in the most horrendous circumstances.

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The uncle of Dawn Ashworth says Pitchfork should have been handed a whole life sentence
The uncle of Dawn Ashworth says Pitchfork should have been handed a whole life sentence. Picture: Alamy

"It devastated the family. Her murder certainly had a huge impact.

"We belive that there are certain crime, fortunately not very many, but certainly those that include the rape and murder of children, that not only merit but it is appropriate to give a whole life tarrif.

"Its an afference to natural justice to think that people can one day, at the end of the lives of these people, pick up there lives and continue with it.

"Dawn and Lynda Mann never had the option of to do that and whilst I am not interested in the death centence personally, I don’t think its appropriate that the powers that be should take a risk with communitys and with the children and the families in the location where he’s released."

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Officials believed Pitchfork showed a "bad attitude" and was not as engaging and open with them as they wanted after his release.

It was also suggested that he may have tried to affect results of a polygraph test – which he needed to do as part of his release requirements – through breathing techniques, but was spotted by staff.

He had tried to get his hands on a smartphone, given a female shop worker chocolates and lied to her when he had been out on temporary licence.

Speaking about his release, Mr Musson added: "Risk assessment isn’t an exact science, its an experiment and how [the parole board] can take this risk with the children and families in the areas where he’s released is… Well it is not a decision I would be comfortable making.

"I would be in full support of [family involvement in parole board decisions] because at the moment it feels as though the agencies are only open to the rights of the offender.

"I’m thinking about the memory and justice for Lynda and Dawn and the protection of the public."

Mr Musson claimed he has had no contact from the authorities about Pitchfork’s recall to prison adding that local MP Alberto Costa and former justice secretary Robert Buckland had ignored letters he had sent about Pitchfork.

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"When we talk about respect for the victim and their families, I mean the rhetoric is sometimes there, but the walk isn’t there with the talk."

When asked wether he believed Pitchfork could ever be released, he added: "Not safely and I don’t think he should be, in terms of the morality of the offences he’s commited."

Pitchfork's case will be referred to the Parole Board within 28 days.

A hearing is likely – though these cases are usually done by reviewing documents – and that is likely to take place within six months.

It will determine if he should stay in a closed prison, an open prison or be released again.

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